Foul Play Suspected in Disappearance of 2 Women

Kansas women never showed up to pick up kids for a birthday party last weekend
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 5, 2024 2:23 PM CDT
2 Kansas Women Are Missing. Investigators Suspect Foul Play
This photo combo shows Veronica Butler, left, and Jilian Kelley.   (Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation via AP)

Foul play is suspected in the disappearance of two Kansas women whose vehicle was found abandoned in the Oklahoma Panhandle last weekend, authorities said Friday. Veronica Butler, 27, and Jilian Kelley, 39, of Hugoton, Kansas, were driving to Oklahoma to pick up Butler's children to attend a March 30 birthday party in Kansas but never showed up, Tom Singer, the pastor of the church Butler attended, told KOCO. Hunter McKee, an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation spokesperson, said investigators believe foul play led to the women's disappearance based on what was found in their vehicle, the AP reports.

McKee declined to say what evidence was found, citing the continuing investigation. He said investigators are searching the area in Texas County, Oklahoma, around where the vehicle was discovered, about 11 miles south of Elkhart, Kansas, on the Oklahoma-Kansas state line. Both women are deeply involved with churches in Hugoton. Kelley "is the wife of a pastor here in our community," Singer told KOCO. "Also an employee of the church, First Christian Church." He said the disappearance of the two women has shaken the community.

The OSBI initially said the women's disappearance was "suspicious." In an update posted on Facebook Thursday, the agency said "evidence to indicate" foul play had been found. "We are still searching for these victims and there are no arrests at this time," the OSBI said. (More missing persons stories.)

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